Gender, Branding, and the Modern Music Industry
It is a challenge for all musicians to find success in the modern music industry, but women face unique challenges. Cultural narratives shape how female artists get sold to the public and those narratives, in turn, affect how the public consumes the music of these women artists.
Kristin Lieb examines the business decisions that shape the careers of female pop artists. Her book, Gender, Branding and the Modern Music Industry (Routledge, 2013),explores this terrain and develops a lifecycle model for female artists. This model describes how many female artists enter pop music as “good girls” only later to become “temptresses,” which then can transform into a range of possible branding options from “divas” and “exotics” to “whores” and “hot messes.” Lieb developed this model by interviewing the business managers, marketers, and agents who are shaping how artists get branded and marketed.
In the interview, Lieb applies this model to a wide range of artists from Miley Cyrus and Lorde to Adele and Madonna. She offers tremendous insight about how behind the scenes business and marketing decisions shape the artists that become successful
Dr. Kristin Lieb is an assistant professor of marketing communication at Emerson College. Before coming a professor, she worked as a freelancer for Billboard and Rolling Stone and worked as a marketing executive for several music-related companies.